Published by Margaret K. McElderry on July 15th, 2014
Genres: graphic novel, horror, retellings, young adult
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'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...
This is an extremely difficult review to write because I don’t think I’ve written a single review of a graphic novel before. But I had to tell you all about this one. Through the Woods was easily one of my favorite books of 2014, but I finished it on New Year’s Eve and so it didn’t make it to the End of the Year Survey.
The moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to have it. The artwork just spoke to me. I knew nothing about Through the Woods at all when I purchased it – I didn’t even know it was a graphic novel. But I’m so happy I took the plunge and splurged on this title because it is a beautiful addition to my shelves, both inside and out. The artwork on the cover is just a glimpse of the beauty that is to come between the pages. The entire book is in full color, too, which I thought was impressive and it really excited me. (I’m so used to manga which typically only uses color on the cover.) The artist uses a very simple color pallet for each page, which I think does justice to the quietly terrifying stories.
Now, the stories. These retellings aren’t exactly what you’d expect. They hold the horror of the original tales – do not expect some Disney-fied adaptations here. But what’s more is that Carroll adds her own spin on each fairy tale. Of course, they harken back to the original, but every story has its own surprise ending that I didn’t expect. It became a game almost, reading this, because you knew there was a twist coming, but they were written so perfectly, you couldn’t really figure them out until they hit you full-force in the face.
I had never heard of Emily Carroll before picking up Through the Woods but hers is certainly a name I’m on the watch for now. Not only has she mastered the art of suspense and horror, dishing out the gore right when it was needed, and holding back long enough to create the best kind of tension – her artwork is the kind I’d like to frame and hang on my walls. Consider me the newest Carroll fan; I will be looking out for any and all future work. Seriously, if the cover and these pictures call to you at all, you really need to pick this one up and read it. In one sitting, though. And maybe not at night.